This is the third installment of our position-by-position breakdown for the New York Jets as we head to the April 28-30 draft:
Position: Tight end
Key newcomers: None.
Departures: Jeff Cumberland (cut/Chargers)
Projected starter: Davis.
Overview: Mayday! Mayday! The Jets need help in a big way. They essentially played without a tight end on passing downs last season, which explains why they led the league in four-receiver packages. Put it this way: Rob Gronkowski had more catches in one game (11, against the Jets) than the Jets' tight ends compiled for the season (eight). Amaro, returning from shoulder surgery, is entering a make-or-break season. He was a record-setting receiver in college, but he has yet to demonstrate that ability on the pro level. It's hard to predict what will happen on draft day. Hunter Henry, the top prospect in the draft, would be a nice add, but he could be a slight reach with the 20th pick. It's not a particularly deep class, and general manager Mike Maccagnan won't reach to fill a need.
The last tight end drafted: Amaro was picked in the second round in 2014. After an underwhelming rookie year, he tore a labrum last preseason.
Potential targets (projected round)
Hunter Henry, Arkansas (first/second round): He's easily the top tight end in the class. Henry was a first-team All-America and the winner of the John Mackey Award as the nation's best tight end. He might not be the next Gronk, but he's 6-foot-5, 250 pounds with good speed (4.66 in the 40) and excellent hands (no drops last season). He made 51 catches for 739 yards and three touchdowns last year. He lined up almost exclusively in-line or in the slot, according to Pro Football Focus, so his ability to split out wide is an unknown.
Nick Vannett, Ohio State (third/fourth round): He made a pre-draft visit to the Jets, the only tight end to do so (that we know about). At 6-6, 257 pounds, Vannett is right out of central casting. He had only 19 catches for 162 yards and no touchdowns last season for the Buckeyes. He's not a downfield threat. Chances are, he'd be no better than a checkdown option in the passing game.
Austin Hooper, Stanford (third/fourth round): Stanford has produced some good tight ends in recent years, and Hooper has a chance to be the next one. He's an excellent catcher of the football, known for making acrobatic plays over the middle. He made 34 receptions for 438 yards and six touchdowns last season, only his second year of college experience. He's a bit raw, but he could develop into a good one.
Need factor (based on a scale of 1 to 10): 10.